Ah, millennials. The sprawling demographic that currently includes consumers between the ages of 18 and 35 (plus or minus a year) has captured the attention of almost every single industry – and rightfully so. Recognized as the fastest growing demographic in the United States today, millennials wield an incredible amount of purchasing power – and as a result, their preferences and dollars are playing an increasingly larger role in driving markets and defining industry trends. Not surprisingly, the world of nutraceuticals and dietary supplements is no exception.

How are millennial consumers changing the dietary supplement industry?

Estimates have shown that as many as 170+ million US consumer report taking one or more dietary supplements on a regular basis. Those same estimates have found that as many as 70% of millennial consumer report taking supplements regularly.

Why is that last statistic so important? Consider the following:

The most recent census reports have stated that millennials (as of 2016) officially became the largest demographic (by age) in the US, boasting more than 75 million adults. If 70% of those millennial consumers are consumer supplements on a regular basis, that means there’s at least 50 million millennial consumers out there who are actively seeking the best supplements to meet their needs.

“Every industry is talking about the millennials and the impact this generation will have. Our data shows the impact is already being made on the dietary supplement industry as young adults are increasingly incorporating dietary supplements into their health regimens.” – CRN, 2016 Annual Survey on Dietary Supplements

As the generation raised on Flintstones vitamins and other fortified foods, millennials have come into their own as adults. For those who are students and those who are parents, here are  just a few of the ways that they’ve started to influence the dietary supplement industry.

The Three C’s of Millennial Supplement Preferences

Clean – Whether you’re looking to cater to millennials or another swath of the supplement consuming public, it’s become clear that the demand for “clean” supplements that feature minimally processed and “natural” ingredients is here to stay.

Custom – There’s little denying that as a whole, millennials are a generation that actively seeks out products and services that meet their own unique needs. As a result, the days of “one sized fits most” supplements are slowly coming to an end.

Conservation – Unlike some of the generations that came before them, millennials (as a whole) tend to place much more value on knowing where and how the products that they’re purchasing were sourced and manufactured. As a result, they are more likely to actively seek products that were crafted with an “environmentally conscious” approach.

Bigger Trends: Emphasis on Energy

One of the key changes to be noted by CRN in their most recent annual supplement consumer survey was that of the top three consumer-reported reasons for taking supplements (which are overall health & well being, filling nutrient gaps, and boosting energy levels).

Historically, overall health & well-being ranked number one, followed by nutritional gaps then boosting energy levels. This past year, boosting energy levels took the number two spot for the first time.

Though there’s no way to confirm it for certain, one possible explanation for this jump could be the increase in millennial supplement users looking for supplements to improve energy.

Meeting Millennial Needs in 2017

For brand owners looking to meet the needs of millennial supplement consumers by introducing new supplement products or by rebranding existing ones, the keys to success lay in being able to listen, observe, and deliver.

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